On any given day, at any given moment, we can begin again. We can clear away the cups and plates from yesterday, straighten up our desk, take a deep breath and begin again.
Sometimes, it takes immense courage. About 6 years ago, I was not in such a good place. A long term relationship I was in had gone sour and broken up. I had just moved to a new place and times were tough. There were weeks when I got by on very little in terms of food and basic provisions. I had no income and was waiting on support from welfare. I felt incredibly alone. By this stage in my life I had already fought through years of mental instability in my 20’s and cancer in my early 30’s. I was exhausted… mentally and emotionally drained.
One evening, I stayed with my mum for the night and was in a very low place. I woke at her house, early. I had no work, no income and no idea what I was going to do. I said to my mum that I had to go and start something. I didn’t know what, but I had to begin as if something substantial was happening. I drove home, got in the shower, got dressed into suit trousers, a shirt and smart shoes and I sat at my desk. I felt totally exhausted. But I sat there and with the mindset of beginning, I started work.
The first thing I did (as I often do at the start of my day) was to write an entry in my diary. The entry will be somewhere in one of the many notebooks I have from over the years but I remember consciously pulling myself into the present moment and stating my intention to begin again. It felt like I was once again at the foot of a very forbidding mountain (as I have often felt in my life) and at the start of yet another epic journey! And yet, it was just that moment I really had to face. Just that step. And bit by bit, step by step, moment to moment, I began again.
The next day was a little easier and the day after easier still. Things began to gradually improve. I taught myself how to use a piece of software that made short animations and soon began to sell my services on a few freelancer websites. I didn’t charge very much to start with but as I gradually become more skilled with that software and as my online portfolio grew, more and more people were placing orders. The most important aspect of that work however, was that my day was full of purposeful action. I had work to do and orders to fulfil and a small amount of money coming in from it. It felt good to finally have some direction and shape to my days.
In March, we all experienced the first taste of our strange new world in dealing with a global pandemic. The entire world went into lockdown and many of us spent long weeks separated from friends, family and loved ones and were only permitted to leave our homes for short bursts of exercise and essential shopping. Thankfully for me, I have been working from home for the past 10 years and so not a great deal changed for me in terms of my work and routine. However, I did find the early days of the lockdown quite beneficial. I had taken up running in January so I was continuing with that, losing weight and getting fitter. I found my routine became more supportive than before… I was cooking good wholesome food and enjoying a number of great drama serials in the evenings. I also found the peace and quiet of the streets and the skies very restful and had some lovely walks and time spent in nature.
However, as the months moved on and the lockdown restrictions began to ease I found that some old, unsupportive habits began to creep back into my days. I stopped running, gained back some of the weight I had lost and found myself staying up late and eating and drinking all the wrong things! I was being quite productive with some of my creative writing (in particular with poetry) but good habits and routines had started to slip.
So, it seemed that with the unlocking of restrictions around the country, some of my own not so healthy indulgences and habits were unlocked at the same time! Over the last few weeks I have found myself feeling drained, disappointed with myself and generally feeling flat and unhealthy. I have continued to practice meditation which has been a huge help and also been enjoying leading our weekly Zoom group and recorded some MP3 Guided Meditations also. I can tend to be pretty hard on myself at times and discount all the good things that I’ve achieved, which I know is common to many others too.
Again… Begin Again.
The point of sharing this here with you on my blog is that no matter how resilient we may feel our spiritual practice has made us, we all begin again in the newness of this moment every time we pause to notice silence, space and stillness or simply connect with the aliveness of our Being here and now. The very essence of our Being IS the freedom of the present moment. In that sense, as Eckhart Tolle has said, we are the now.
I also feel it’s important to not add to the myth that awakening turns us into super humans who never feel bad and never screw up. All those human experiences can still happen after awakening. The difference is, they don’t happen with such force, with such regularity and drama and when they do, we find ourselves far better equipped to navigate those waters than we were before.
So, on any given day, at any given moment, we can begin again. We can clear away the cups and plates from yesterday and start again, right here… in the only place we’ve ever been.